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Canon XSi vs Sony RX100

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi (called Canon 450D in some regions) and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are two digital cameras that were revealed to the public, respectively, in January 2008 and June 2012. The XSi is a DSLR, while the RX100 is a fixed lens compact. The cameras are based on an APS-C (XSi) and an one-inch (RX100) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 12.2 megapixels, whereas the Sony provides 20 MP.

Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.

Headline Specifications
Canon XSi versus Sony RX100
Canon XSi Sony RX100
Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
Canon EF mount lenses 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9
12.2 MP, APS-C Sensor 20 MP, 1" Sensor
no Video 1080/60p Video
ISO 100-1,600 ISO 100-6,400 (100 - 25,600)
Optical viewfinder No viewfinder, LCD framing
3.0 LCD, 230k dots 3.0 LCD, 1229k dots
Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive) Fixed screen (not touch-sensitive)
3.5 shutter flaps per second 10 shutter flaps per second
500 shots per battery charge330 shots per battery charge
129 x 98 x 62 mm, 524 g 102 x 58 x 36 mm, 240 g

Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS Rebel XSi and the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.

Body comparison

The side-by-side display below illustrates the physical size and weight of the Canon XSi and the Sony RX100. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All size dimensions are rounded to the nearest millimeter.

Size Canon XSi vs Sony RX100
Compare XSi versus RX100 top
Comparison XSi or RX100 rear

If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Sony RX100 is considerably smaller (53 percent) than the Canon XSi. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the XSi nor the RX100 are weather-sealed.

The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete and possibly misleading, as the RX100 has a lens built in, whereas the XSi is an interchangeable lens camera that requires a separate lens. Attaching the latter will add extra weight and bulk to the setup. You can compare the optics available for the XSi and their specifications in the Canon EF Lens Catalog.

Concerning battery life, the XSi gets 500 shots out of its LP-E5 battery, while the RX100 can take 330 images on a single charge of its NP-BX1 power pack. The power pack in the RX100 can be charged via the USB port, which can be very convenient when travelling.

The adjacent table lists the principal physical characteristics of the two cameras alongside a wider set of alternatives. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.

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Body Specifications
    Camera
Model
Camera
Width
Camera
Height
Camera
Depth
Camera
Weight
Battery
Life
Weather
Sealing
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon XSi 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 524 g 500 n Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Sony RX100 102 mm 58 mm 36 mm 240 g 330 n Jun 2012 649i
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 206 g 235 n Jan 2017 529 i
4.
 
Canon G9 X 98 mm 58 mm 31 mm 209 g 220 n Oct 2015 529i
5.
 
Canon T6i 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 555 g 440 n Feb 2015 749i
6.
 
Canon T6s 132 mm 101 mm 78 mm 565 g 440 n Feb 2015 649i
7.
 
Canon T4i 133 mm 100 mm 79 mm 575 g 440 n Jun 2012 849i
8.
 
Canon T3 130 mm 100 mm 78 mm 495 g 700 n Feb 2011 449i
9.
 
Canon T2i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 530 g 440 n Feb 2010 699i
10.
 
Canon T1i 129 mm 98 mm 62 mm 520 g 400 n Mar 2009 799i
11.
 
Canon XS 126 mm 98 mm 65 mm 502 g 500 n Jun 2008 449i
12.
 
Canon 40D 146 mm 108 mm 74 mm 822 g 750 n Aug 2007 1,299i
13.
 
Canon XTi 127 mm 84 mm 65 mm 556 g 370 n Aug 2006 799i
14.
 
Canon XT 127 mm 94 mm 64 mm 540 g 400 n Feb 2005 899i
15.
 
Sony RX100 III 102 mm 58 mm 41 mm 290 g 320 n May 2014 799i
16.
 
Sony RX10 129 mm 88 mm 102 mm 813 g 420 Y Oct 2013 1,299i
17.
 
Sony RX100 II 102 mm 58 mm 38 mm 281 g 350 n Jun 2013 749i
Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.

Any camera decision will obviously take relative prices into account. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The RX100 was launched at a lower price than the XSi, despite having a lens built in. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down.

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Sensor comparison

The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will generally have larger individual pixels that offer better low-light sensitivity, provide wider dynamic range, and have richer color-depth than smaller pixels in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.

Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon XSi features an APS-C sensor and the Sony RX100 an one-inch sensor. The sensor area in the RX100 is 65 percent smaller. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 2.7. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.

Canon XSi and Sony RX100 sensor measures

Despite having a smaller sensor, the RX100 offers a higher resolution of 20 megapixels, compared with 12.2 MP of the XSi. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 2.41μm versus 5.19μm for the XSi). However, it should be noted that the RX100 is much more recent (by 4 years and 4 months) than the XSi, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently.

The resolution advantage of the Sony RX100 implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the RX100 for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 27.4 x 18.2 inches or 69.5 x 46.3 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 21.9 x 14.6 inches or 55.6 x 37.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 18.2 x 12.2 inches or 46.3 x 30.9 cm. The corresponding values for the Canon XSi are 21.4 x 14.2 inches or 54.3 x 36.2 cm for good quality, 17.1 x 11.4 inches or 43.4 x 28.9 cm for very good quality, and 14.2 x 9.5 inches or 36.2 x 24.1 cm for excellent quality prints.

The Canon EOS Rebel XSi has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 1600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 are ISO 100 to ISO 6400, with the possibility to increase the ISO range to 100-25600.

XSi versus RX100 MP

Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service is based on lab testing and assigns an overall score to each camera sensor, as well as ratings for dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), color depth ("DXO Portrait"), and low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"). Of the two cameras under consideration, the RX100 has a markedly higher DXO score than the XSi (overall score 5 points higher), which will translate into better image quality. The advantage is based on 0.7 bits higher color depth, 1.6 EV in additional dynamic range, and 0.8 stops of reduced low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.

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Sensor Characteristics
    Camera
Model
Sensor
Class
Resolution
(MP)
Horiz.
Pixels
Vert.
Pixels
Video
Format
DXO
Portrait
DXO
Landscape
DXO
Sports
DXO
Overall
1.
 
Canon XSi APS-C 12.2 4272 2848none21.910.869261
2.
 
Sony RX100 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.612.439066
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.912.552265
4.
 
Canon G9 X 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p21.512.349563
5.
 
Canon T6i APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.712.091971
6.
 
Canon T6s APS-C 24.0 6000 40001080/30p22.612.091570
7.
 
Canon T4i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p21.711.272262
8.
 
Canon T3 APS-C 12.2 4272 2848720/30p21.911.075562
9.
 
Canon T2i APS-C 17.9 5184 34561080/30p22.111.578466
10.
 
Canon T1i APS-C 15.1 4752 31681080/20p21.711.566363
11.
 
Canon XS APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none........
12.
 
Canon 40D APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.370364
13.
 
Canon XTi APS-C 10.1 3888 2592none22.111.066462
14.
 
Canon XT APS-C 8.0 3456 2304none21.810.863760
15.
 
Sony RX100 III 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.412.349567
16.
 
Sony RX10 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.912.647469
17.
 
Sony RX100 II 1-inch 20.0 5472 36481080/60p22.512.448367

Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but can also record movies. The RX100 indeed provides for movie recording, while the XSi does not. The highest resolution format that the RX100 can use is 1080/60p.

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Feature comparison

Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the XSi has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the RX100 relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The table below summarizes some of the other core capabilities of the Canon XSi and Sony RX100 in connection with corresponding information for a sample of similar cameras.

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Core Features
    Camera
Model
Viewfinder
(Type or
000 dots)
Control
Panel
(yes/no)
LCD
Size
(inch)
LCD
Resolution
(000 dots)
LCD
Attach-
ment
Touch
Screen
(yes/no)
Mech
Shutter
Speed
Shutter
Flaps
(1/sec)
Built-in
Flash
(yes/no)
Built-in
Image
Stab
1.
 
Canon XSioptical n 3.0 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.5 Y n
2.
 
Sony RX100none n 3.0 1229 fixed n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark IInone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 8.2 Y Y
4.
 
Canon G9 Xnone n 3.0 1040 fixed Y 1/2000s 6.0 Y Y
5.
 
Canon T6ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
6.
 
Canon T6soptical Y 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
7.
 
Canon T4ioptical n 3.0 1040 swivel Y 1/4000s 5.0 Y n
8.
 
Canon T3optical n 2.7 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
9.
 
Canon T2ioptical n 3.0 1040 fixed n 1/4000s 3.7 Y n
10.
 
Canon T1ioptical n 3.0 920 fixed n 1/4000s 3.4 Y n
11.
 
Canon XSoptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
12.
 
Canon 40Doptical Y 3.0 230 fixed n 1/8000s 6.5 Y n
13.
 
Canon XTioptical n 2.5 230 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
14.
 
Canon XToptical n 1.8 115 fixed n 1/4000s 3.0 Y n
15.
 
Sony RX100 III1440 n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y
16.
 
Sony RX101440 Y 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/3200s 10.0 Y Y
17.
 
Sony RX100 IIoptional n 3.0 1229 tilting n 1/2000s 10.0 Y Y

The XSi writes its imaging data to SDHC cards, while the RX100 uses SDXC or Memory Stick PRO Duo cards.

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Connectivity comparison

For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS Rebel XSi and Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.

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Input-Output Connections
    Camera
Model
Hotshoe
Port
Internal
Microphone
Internal
Speaker
Microphone
Port
Headphone
Port
HDMI
Port
USB
Port
WiFi
Support
NFC
Support
Bluetooth
Support
1.
 
Canon XSiY----mini2.0---
2.
 
Sony RX100-stereomono--micro2.0---
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II-stereomono--micro2.0YYY
4.
 
Canon G9 X-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
5.
 
Canon T6iYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
6.
 
Canon T6sYstereomonoY-mini2.0YY-
7.
 
Canon T4iYstereomonoY-mini2.0---
8.
 
Canon T3Ystereomono--mini2.0---
9.
 
Canon T2iYstereo-Y-mini2.0---
10.
 
Canon T1iYmonomono--mini2.0---
11.
 
Canon XSY-----2.0---
12.
 
Canon 40DY-----2.0---
13.
 
Canon XTiY-----2.0---
14.
 
Canon XTY-----2.0---
15.
 
Sony RX100 III-stereomono--micro2.0YY-
16.
 
Sony RX10YstereomonoYYmicro2.0YY-
17.
 
Sony RX100 IIYstereomono--micro2.0YY-

It is notable that the XSi has a hotshoe, while the RX100 does not. This socket makes it possible to easily attach optional accessories, such as an external flash gun.

Both the XSi and the RX100 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The XSi was replaced by the Canon T1i, while the RX100 was followed by the Sony RX100 II. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Sony websites.

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Review summary

So what is the bottom line? Is there a clear favorite between the Canon XSi and the Sony RX100? Which camera is better? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.

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Reasons to prefer the Canon EOS Rebel XSi:

  • Better low-light sensitivity: Requires less light for good images (0.8 stops ISO advantage).
  • Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
  • Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/4000s vs 1/2000s) to freeze action.
  • More flexible: Can take a variety of interchangeable lenses, including specialty optics.
  • Longer lasting: Can take more shots (500 versus 330) on a single battery charge.
  • Better lighting: Features a hotshoe and can thus hold and trigger an external flash gun.
  • More heavily discounted: Has been available for much longer (launched in January 2008).

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Advantages of the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100:

  • More detail: Has more megapixels (20 vs 12.2MP), which boosts linear resolution by 28%.
  • Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (5 points) in the DXO overall evaluation.
  • More dynamic range: Captures a broader range of light and dark details (1.6 EV of extra DR).
  • Broader imaging potential: Can capture not only stills but also 1080/60p video.
  • More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1229k vs 230k dots).
  • Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (10 vs 3.5 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
  • Ready to shoot: Comes with an integrated lens, while the XSi requires a separate lens.
  • More compact: Is smaller (102x58mm vs 129x98mm) and will fit more readily into a bag.
  • Less heavy: Has a lower weight even though it has a lens built in (unlike the XSi).
  • Easier travel charging: Can be conveniently charged via its USB port.
  • Sharper images: Has stabilization technology built-in to reduce the impact of hand-shake.
  • More affordable: Was introduced at a lower price, despite coming with a built-in lens.
  • More modern: Reflects 4 years and 4 months of technical progress since the XSi launch.

If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the RX100 is the clear winner of the contest (13 : 7 points). However, the relative importance of the various individual camera aspects will vary according to personal preferences and needs, so that you might like to apply corresponding weights to the particular features before making a decision on a new camera. A professional wildlife photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a family photog, and a person interested in architecture has distinct needs from a sports shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.

XSi 07:13 RX100

How about other alternatives? Do the specifications of the Canon XSi and the Sony RX100 place the cameras among the top in their class? Find out in the latest Best DSLR Camera and Best Travel-Zoom Camera listings whether the two cameras rank among the cream of the crop.

In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the XSi or the RX100 perform in practice. User reviews that are available, for instance, at amazon can sometimes shed light on these issues, but such feedback is all too often partial, inconsistent, and inaccurate.

Expert reviews

This is why hands-on reviews by experts are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.

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Expert Camera Reviews
     Camera 
 Model 
 AP 
 score 
 CL 
 score 
 DPR 
 score 
 EPZ 
 score 
 PB 
 score 
Camera
Launch
Launch
Price (USD)
Street
Price
1.
 
Canon XSi..+ ++ +4/54.5/5 Jan 2008 799i
2.
 
Sony RX1005/5+ +78/1004/55/5 Jun 2012 649i
3.
 
Canon G9 X Mark II4/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Jan 2017 529 i
4.
 
Canon G9 X3.5/5+ +..4.5/54.5/5 Oct 2015 529i
5.
 
Canon T6i5/5..75/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 749i
6.
 
Canon T6s5/5+77/1004.5/54.5/5 Feb 2015 649i
7.
 
Canon T4i4/5+ +77/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2012 849i
8.
 
Canon T3..80/10069/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2011 449i
9.
 
Canon T2i..+ +77/1004/54.5/5 Feb 2010 699i
10.
 
Canon T1i..+ +74/1004.5/54.5/5 Mar 2009 799i
11.
 
Canon XS..82/100+ +3.5/54.5/5 Jun 2008 449i
12.
 
Canon 40D..+ ++ +4.5/54.5/5 Aug 2007 1,299i
13.
 
Canon XTi..+ ++ +o4/5 Aug 2006 799i
14.
 
Canon XT..80/100+ +o.. Feb 2005 899i
15.
 
Sony RX100 III5/5+ +82/1004.5/55/5 May 2014 799i
16.
 
Sony RX105/5+80/1004.5/54.5/5 Oct 2013 1,299i
17.
 
Sony RX100 II5/5+ +79/1004.5/54.5/5 Jun 2013 749i
Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.

Care should be taken when interpreting the review scores above, though. The ratings were established in reference to similarly priced cameras that were available in the market at the time of the review. Hence, a score should always be seen in the context of the camera's market launch date and its price, and comparing ratings of very distinct cameras or ones that are far apart in terms of their release date have little meaning. Also, kindly note that some of the listed sites have over time developped their review approaches and their reporting style.

Canon XSi:
Check Ebay offers
Sony RX100:
Check Ebay offers

Other camera comparisons

Did this review help to inform your camera decision process? In case you are interested in seeing how other cameras pair up, just make your choice using the following search menu. As an alternative, you can also directly jump to any one of the listed comparisons that were previously generated by the CAM-parator tool.

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    Specifications: Canon XSi vs Sony RX100

    Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.

    Camera Specifications
    Camera Model Canon XSi Sony RX100
    Camera Type Digital single lens reflex Fixed lens compact camera
    Camera Lens Canon EF mount lenses 28-100mm f/1.8-4.9
    Launch Date January 2008 June 2012
    Launch Price USD 799 USD 649
    Sensor Specs Canon XSi Sony RX100
    Sensor Technology CMOS CMOS
    Sensor Format APS-C Sensor 1" Sensor
    Sensor Size 22.2 x 14.8 mm 13.2 x 8.8 mm
    Sensor Area 328.56 mm2 116.16 mm2
    Sensor Diagonal 26.7 mm 15.9 mm
    Crop Factor 1.6x 2.7x
    Sensor Resolution 12.2 Megapixels 20 Megapixels
    Image Resolution 4272 x 2848 pixels 5472 x 3648 pixels
    Pixel Pitch 5.19 μm 2.41 μm
    Pixel Density 3.70 MP/cm2 17.18 MP/cm2
    Moiré control Anti-Alias filter Anti-Alias filter
    Movie Capability no Video 1080/60p Video
    ISO Setting 100 - 1,600 ISO 100 - 6,400 ISO
    ISO Boost no Enhancement 100 - 25,600 ISO
    Image Processor DIGIC 3 BIONZ X
    DXO Sensor Quality (score) 61 66
    DXO Color Depth (bits) 21.9 22.6
    DXO Dynamic Range (EV) 10.8 12.4
    DXO Low Light (ISO) 692 390
    Screen Specs Canon XSi Sony RX100
    Viewfinder Type Optical viewfinder no viewfinder
    Viewfinder Field of View 95%
    Viewfinder Magnification 0.54x
    LCD Framing Live View Live View
    Rear LCD Size 3.0inch 3.0inch
    LCD Resolution 230k dots 1229k dots
    LCD Attachment Fixed screen Fixed screen
    Shooting Specs Canon XSi Sony RX100
    Focus System Phase-detect AF Contrast-detect AF
    Manual Focusing Aidno Peaking FeatureFocus Peaking
    Max Shutter Speed (mechanical) 1/4000s 1/2000s
    Continuous Shooting 3.5 shutter flaps/s 10 shutter flaps/s
    Fill Flash Build-in Flash Build-in Flash
    Storage Medium SDHC cards MS or SDXC cards
    Second Storage Option Single card slot Single card slot
    UHS card support no no
    Connectivity Specs Canon XSi Sony RX100
    External Flash Hotshoe no Hotshoe
    USB Connector USB 2.0 USB 2.0
    HDMI Port mini HDMI micro HDMI
    Wifi Support no Wifi no Wifi
    Body Specs Canon XSi Sony RX100
    Battery Type LP-E5 NP-BX1
    Battery Life (CIPA)500 shots per charge330 shots per charge
    In-Camera Charging no USB charging USB charging
    Body Dimensions 129 x 98 x 62 mm
    (5.1 x 3.9 x 2.4 in)
    102 x 58 x 36 mm
    (4.0 x 2.3 x 1.4 in)
    Camera Weight 524 g (18.5 oz) 240 g (8.5 oz)

    Did you notice an error on this page? If so, please get in touch, so that we can correct the information.

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